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 Post subject: Re: M. Night Shyamalan
PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 2:56 pm 
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domino harvey wrote:
Shyamalan's latest casting call is pretty amazing:

We want you to dress in traditional cultural ethnic attire. If you’re Korean, wear a kimono. If you’re from Belgium, wear lederhosen.

I'll be showing up wearing flannel and a toque.


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 Post subject: Re: M. Night Shyamalan
PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 4:05 pm 
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I'd like to see people mess with the casting directors by turning up in the wrong ethnic garb!

This reminds me of my favourite casting call story, about the Star Wars prequels, described in news section of the July 1996 SFX magazine:

Quote:
Lucasfilm were keen to avoid the brouhaha that the announcement of Star Wars auditions would inevitably create, and wanted to avoid having to sift through thousands of devoted-but-unsuitable Star Wars fans. To this end they set up anonymous auditions around the world through third parties in early May.

One of these auditions was held at the Invergordon Arts Centre in the Scottish Highlands. Leaflets were distributed at the Centre, advertising that a film company was looking for "a handsome, charismatic Caucasian boy of 8-9 years old and a beautiful, sensual, exotic girl who should be Caucasian, Latino or Eurasian and 13-15 years old."

A request to distribute the leaflets to local schools was refused due to the distinctly dodgy nature of the leaflet's phrasing, a controversy summed up on the front page of top Highland newspaper The Press & Journal as "Fury as film boss asks for sensual girls of 13."

So Lucasfilm promptly stepped forward, admitted they were the film company in question and apologised for the misunderstanding. The "inappropriate terminology" was blamed on verbatim printing of the American casting director's specifications. "This was Californian-speak," said a Highlands Council spokesman, "and perhaps, with hindsight, we should have translated this into Invergordon-speak."


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 Post subject: Re: M. Night Shyamalan
PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 1:48 am 
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I understand being in California gives you the license to be an asshole.


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 Post subject: Re: M. Night Shyamalan
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 6:50 pm 
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The kid from Slumdog Millionaire signs on to The Last Airbender. No word if he showed up to the audition in clogs.


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 Post subject: Re: M. Night Shyamalan
PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 5:59 am 
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brendanjc wrote:
I haven't returned to The Sixth Sense or Unbreakable in quite awhile, maybe I'll catch them on Blu-ray when I get through my looming unwatched stack.
I recently got his IMO three best efforts Sixth Sense, Signs and Unbreakable (plus The Invisible to sell...) in that Gold Box deal a few weeks back on blu ray; and so far its occured to me that Signs is not too far behind The Sixth Sense in terms of quality/rewatchability (the latter was always bound to dog The Sixth Sense), and that so far Signs and The Sixth Sense have featured noticeable DNR and loss of detail, as well as the accompanying problems with movement. Disappointing, but watchable. This may be old news to many, but its new news to me.


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 Post subject: Re: M. Night Shyamalan
PostPosted: Wed Jun 30, 2010 5:30 pm 
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The opening line to Ebert's The Last Airbender review:

Quote:
"The Last Airbender" is an agonizing experience in every category I can think of and others still waiting to be invented.


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 Post subject: Re: M. Night Shyamalan
PostPosted: Wed Jun 30, 2010 6:35 pm 
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I actually like the next line better: "The laws of chance suggest that something should have gone right. Not here."


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 Post subject: Re: M. Night Shyamalan
PostPosted: Wed Jun 30, 2010 7:38 pm 
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That's what you get for trying to condense a season of excellence into two hours. Did anyone think this would go well?


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 Post subject: Re: M. Night Shyamalan
PostPosted: Wed Jun 30, 2010 7:51 pm 

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knives wrote:
That's what you get for trying to condense a season of excellence into two hours. Did anyone think this would go well?

Not really. What happened to the dude who made Unbreakable?


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 Post subject: Re: M. Night Shyamalan
PostPosted: Wed Jun 30, 2010 8:25 pm 
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How many lives does Shyamalan have??? He has to be approaching his ninth by now. :-k


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 Post subject: Re: M. Night Shyamalan
PostPosted: Wed Jun 30, 2010 11:17 pm 
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A season of excellence? This thing with the bald headed kid?


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 Post subject: Re: M. Night Shyamalan
PostPosted: Wed Jun 30, 2010 11:56 pm 
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Genuinely meant that. Avatar was the best American kids show since Batman. The plot is simple enough, but (and this primarily comes from being a show) the emotional depth that it reached along with the complex characters made it great. Not great as in the Wire great, but great as in the aforementioned Batman:TAS. The fact it managed to cover some very serious subject matters like genocide and abuse in a mature and intelligent manner while staying true to it's bright images alone makes it an excellent show, no need to add kids.

Also Gene Leun Yang talking about my biggest bone with this adaptation: Image
Come on Shyamalan, you're Indian and you're only willing to cast Asians in the villain and peasant roles?


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 Post subject: Re: M. Night Shyamalan
PostPosted: Thu Jul 01, 2010 7:15 pm 
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Have you read the reviews for Last Airbender?
No, I haven’t.

Well, are you aware of the reviews?
No, actually.

Well, for the most part, critics have not been kind. Are you just ignoring them? Will you read them this weekend? Have you just not had time?
Are you saying that in general they didn't dig it?


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 Post subject: Re: M. Night Shyamalan
PostPosted: Thu Jul 01, 2010 7:17 pm 
Dot Com Dom
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Excuuuuse me, but didn't you see Lady in the Water? He's not making these films for critics, but for... uh... wait, who's seeing these again?


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 Post subject: Re: M. Night Shyamalan
PostPosted: Thu Jul 01, 2010 7:23 pm 
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domino harvey wrote:
Excuuuuse me, but didn't you see Lady in the Water? He's not making these films for critics, but for... uh... wait, who's seeing these again?

Oh, it's all right there in the interview:
Quote:
Were you trying to please critics with this film? Did you have an audience in mind while you were making it?
For everybody, actually. It’s just a very cool, spiritual, action-y, family film — a family adventure.

It's a Family Adventure for Everybody, Domino. C'mon!


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 2:47 am 
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sidehacker wrote:
Signs, like most of Shyamalan's work is pretty terrible so yes, I'd say that makes him the next Hitchcock...

Image


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 Post subject: Re: M. Night Shyamalan
PostPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 2:53 am 
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Zombie-Luv wrote:
knives wrote:
That's what you get for trying to condense a season of excellence into two hours. Did anyone think this would go well?

Not really. What happened to the dude who made Unbreakable?

he continued to make shitty movies. Unbreakable is the only time i've ever felt compelled to demand a refund at a film's conclusion. And I was not alone. There was practically a revolt in the theater I saw it in.


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 Post subject: Re: M. Night Shyamalan
PostPosted: Sun Jul 04, 2010 12:58 am 
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I saw it at home but my reaction to that ending was not good. To the degree that it's possible for someone to feel used after watching a motion picture, I felt used.


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 Post subject: Re: M. Night Shyamalan
PostPosted: Sun Jul 04, 2010 3:34 am 
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The AV Club tries to outdo Ebert with their opening line:
Quote:
Where to start with this one? How about this: If any movie ever warranted a class-action lawsuit against the filmmakers, it’s The Last Airbender.


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 Post subject: Re: M. Night Shyamalan
PostPosted: Sun Jul 04, 2010 4:11 am 
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The most depressing thing for me is that Shyamalan (Unbreakable his only genuinely good film) continues to get one unearned break after another while real talents struggle to get a foot in the door. At least Michael Bay can argue that his shite brings in the dough.


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 Post subject: Re: M. Night Shyamalan
PostPosted: Sun Jul 04, 2010 7:35 pm 
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From the sound of the AV Club review and their podcast discussing the film it appears that The Last Airbender (which sounds like a euphemism for breaking wind) is totally empty of any Shyamalan touches - the things that even his worst films had.

I didn't mind Unbreakable, though it is infuriating on a first viewing: so we've finally gotten to the point where the action begins - oh, that's the twist ending? When you know how everything is going to turn out it is a little easier to lie back and just enjoy the performances, even though I still wish they'd stop being so portentous and symbolic and just get to the point a bit quicker (what I like to call "the Matrix syndrome").

Signs had too many laugh out loud moments to do with the actual aliens themselves but I'm always a sucker for 'barricaded in against an outside threat' films, so found some sequences that I could enjoy! This was the film where Shyamalan's cameos in crucial and self-aggrandising roles began to grate though, reaching their worst with his struggling writer trying to complete a children's book that would change the course of history, urged on by the characters he is writing to save them in Lady In The Water (That reminded me of Stephen King writing himself into The Dark Tower novels, and while King had in some senses earnt the right to do that, it still felt a somewhat egotistical and insular thing to do there as well).

The Village is really the definition of a film carried by its actors, but that was the last one for me where they were just about able to save the film from the poor writing. The flat tone to the writing and playing just collapses after this point, and cannot cover up for the utterly ludicrous nature of the films, which just makes the earnest performances tip over into (unintentional?) hilarity!

There's that sense that Shyamalan likes creating his mythologies but has nothing to actually do with them once they are built (and it sounds like in tackling a pre-existing mythology in The Last Airbender it has taken away the one thing he likes doing in his films and tied him into someone else's story, with nothing left to compensate for that loss). They don't really pay off in any significant way to justify all of the intricate backstories of Narfs and Scrunts, or killer plants, or whatever.

I finally caught up with Lady In The Water and The Happening a few months ago and thought that they both had committed casts let down by the awful writing. Lady In The Water was particularly poor. The mythology in particular feels both convoluted and made up on the fly (and not in the good 'dream logic' sense), while the archetypal characters are particularly one dimensional. The clunkily introduced significant baseball bat in Signs gets mutiplied into every character having just a single distinguishing characteristic that proves to be significant to the narrative (the child who can complete crossword puzzles, the chap who just likes to work out one very over developed arm, and so on), and even a critic is introduced to sniff at the contrivance and then get ripped apart in a not very thinly veiled subtext!

The Happening is just as embarrassing for the actors but more amusing than disheartening to watch as an audience member! Any film where the main character has a nervous conversation with a household potted plant until finding out that it is made of plastic has to have some comedy value! And the company of large groups of other people being the catalyst for insanity adds an interesting self-isolation theme to the apocalyptic stuff which is usually about banding together to get through, even though not much is really done with this idea and the damp squib ending just throws everything away to achieve an easy ending more about a couple learning to hug each other again than anything happening in the wider world. It actually stands as a great example of how sometimes including in-depth material about the main characters and their troubled relationship, especially when it is cliched stuff, is a wrong move in terms of engaging an audience - I personally found it all to be very petty stuff set against much wider and seemingly more important events and would have preferred a wider, even if that meant slightly colder emotionally, perspective on the characters (While all the stuff about the cypher characters patching up their relationship was going on I was casually wondering about what happens once you get rid of everyone around you and still aren't safe? Do you have to start chopping limbs off to reduce the surface area exposed to the wind? Is that what drove people to their suicides as they couldn't even trust their bodies any more? But perhaps that is overthinking the ludicrous concept too much!)

The concept of The Happening also seems to fit in with the 'people driven suddenly insane' subgenre along with the 1984 film Impulse or The Signal. Maybe if they ever get around to filming Stephen King's Cell we might see this idea done again.


Last edited by colinr0380 on Fri Aug 13, 2010 12:50 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: M. Night Shyamalan
PostPosted: Sun Jul 04, 2010 11:59 pm 
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I agree that Signs is underrated. People dismiss it for the 'water failure' or its borderline obnoxious religious aspects. If you put those aside though, its quite skillfully directed. I think the most impressive thing about it is what Shyamalan does with sound. That moment where the aliens invade the house really sticks out.

I'd suggest that he'd be best suited for making straight up genre films without the baggage, but The Happening was a complete disaster.

The guy needs to get himself a good thriller or horror film. That someone else wrote.


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 Post subject: Re: M. Night Shyamalan
PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 12:37 am 
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The critics are being way too kind to Last Airbender. It doesn't suck, it really fucking sucks. This is the Battlefield Earth for the new decade. Utterly dire in every regard. And I'm a big Shyamalan defender all the way up until The Happening, well, happened. But this...this is rancid. Especially in 3D, which is literally a 2D print where they just make you wear the glasses. The only redeeming factor is that it's hilariously bad. I laughed my way through the whole thing. If MST3K were still on, they'd do this movie as soon as they could.


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 Post subject: Re: M. Night Shyamalan
PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 10:07 am 
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Alphonse Doinel wrote:
I agree that Signs is underrated. People dismiss it for the 'water failure' or its borderline obnoxious religious aspects. If you put those aside though, its quite skillfully directed.

Specifically the moment where Mel Gibson
[Reveal] Spoiler:
is in the cornfield and the flashlight goes out.
They used that in the trailers. It's the only time I've heard an audience hush itself during a trailer because a sequence was so engrossing. But it is true that the film turns howlingly obvious not too long after that.

Belmondo wrote:
THE SIXTH SENSE had me fooled, and I appreciate the careful care that that resulted in my open mouthed appreciation upon first viewing. However, this kind of "wait for the surprise" filmmaking has its limits and once those limits are reached; open mouthed appreciation turns to open mouthed expletives deleted.

And he's been trying to top it ever since. You can only come up with so many of these shock endings in any given creative lifetime. Until he learns to let the characters dictate where the plot should go there's no reason to think his movies will get any better.

That said, though, I think The Sixth Sense is the best of his big budget films. The plot is watertight with no glaring plot holes that I can remember. And Bruce Willis deserves a lot of credit in what is one of his best film performances. One of the most pleasurable performances from recent Hollywood.


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 Post subject: Re: M. Night Shyamalan
PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:06 pm 
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Numero Trois wrote:
That said, though, I think The Sixth Sense is the best of his big budget films. The plot is watertight with no glaring plot holes that I can remember. And Bruce Willis deserves a lot of credit in what is one of his best film performances. One of the most pleasurable performances from recent Hollywood.

Well, the plothole for me is...
[Reveal] Spoiler:
...that Willis' character doesn't realize he's dead or, more specifically, doesn't seem to realize that no one apart from the child will even acknowledge his presence. I know that Shyamalan works in the excuse that "the dead just see what they want to see", but this hurts the film in subsequent viewings for me. Did Willis realize that the child's mother completely ignored him when he arrived at the apartment before the child did? Who paid for the bus fare? I believe that THE SIXTH SENSE would be improved if Willis' character knows he's dead, but the audience doesn't; that way the viewer wouldn't question Willis' actions or reactions when rewatching the film.

Apart from this quibble, THE SIXTH SENSE is so well done that it amazes me that Shyamalan has fallen so far. Of course, his sizable ego and the oftentimes ridiculous statements he makes does not make appreciating his films any easier. It was truly embarrassing to watch him in the DVD extras for THE HAPPENING when he claims that his original vision for the film would have resulted in a NC-17 rating (the supposedly offending trimmed footage turns out to be either PG-13 mild or unintentionally Pythonesque hilarious). And then there's that moment where Shyamalan refers THE HAPPENING as some kind of cross between JAWS, THE BIRDS, THE GODFATHER, CITIZEN KANE and CASABLANCA or something to that effect.


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